Shin-Soo Choo: Is Star's Injury Final Nail in Cleveland Indians Playoff Coffin?

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Shin-Soo Choo: Is Star's Injury Final Nail in Cleveland Indians Playoff Coffin?
David Maxwell/Getty Images

Maybe I should stop being so opinionated.

For instance, prior to the last weekend series in Detroit, I wrote a slideshow about how the Indians would beat the Tigers for the AL Central crown... just in time for the Tribe to get swept and virtually disprove all of my points.

Then I published an article about how Shin-Soo Choo is the key to the AL Central race... just in time for the South Korean native to hit the DL with "left trunk soreness."

Let's try this again, shall we?

The Shin-Soo Choo injury will be the end of the Indians' season.

Well, now that I put it that way, I guess my last Choo article was pretty much right. Now that the Tribe's best player is not playing, they won't be able to make the playoffs.

I can't help but feel I was in the minority of Cleveland fans when I kept holding out hope of, at the very least, a playoff appearance in 2011. Now I've crossed over to the dark-side majority of pessimism and depression. 

When Choo originally returned, he was on fire. He started 2011 slowly, and just when you thought Choo was about to turn things around, a pitch broke his thumb and forced him to miss over a month.

Choo returned in August in a big way, hitting .348/.412/.609. While it seemed too late to salvage his own season personally, his hot bat certainly could have saved the Indian's season.

Can the Indians make the playoffs without Choo?

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Now, not so much.

The fact of the matter is that the Tribe simply has too many injuries to overcome. Six opening day starters are currently injured, and Jason Kipnis is also still on the DL, though he may return this week.

One of Cleveland's biggest strengths was their pitching, which now has both Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin on the DL.

Grady Sizemore recently returned, but what kind of return can he really bring at this point? And while Jim Thome has essentially replaced the injured Travis Hafner, how much of an upgrade is he?

But despite all of that, I still believe that if Choo was healthy he could have done just enough to push the Indians to the playoffs. It wasn't definite, but it was definitely possible.

At this point, Cleveland can start printing "Maybe Next Year" t-shirts again. 

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